Thiruvananthapuram: Former Indian football player Muhammad Rafi has made serious allegations against the Kerala government, claiming that he was given a job and then dismissed without explanation. Rafi has brought to light his ordeal, revealing that, despite promises, he faced unexpected hurdles in his professional journey.
Muhammad Rafi’s allegations stem from the aftermath of Kerala’s victory in the Santosh Trophy in 2004, during which it was pledged that team members like Rafi would be offered jobs. However, the fulfilment of this promise took a staggeringly long four years, with Rafi finally receiving his appointment in the health department in 2008. Despite his dedication to the sport, Rafi’s journey took a downturn when he was left unemployed after taking a five-year leave to participate in the professional field. Muhammad Rafi donated Rs. 2.5 lakh from the auction of his Indian jersey to the Chief Minister’s flood relief fund.
Rafi, who displayed exceptional performances for the Indian football team in 2010 and 2011, found himself facing an unexpected dismissal. His contributions included scoring a goal for India in a friendly match against Kuwait in November 2010. Expressing his frustration, Rafi stated that he was terminated without any explanation, leaving him baffled and disheartened. In his attempts to regain his job, Rafi sought assistance from several MLAs, but his efforts were in vain.
This incident follows a recent controversy involving footballers Anas Edathodika and Rino Anto, who were denied government jobs by Kerala Sports Council president ,U Sharafali, citing their late job application submissions. Anas and Rino contested this assertion, with Anas strongly expressing that he had to plead for a job and that Sharafali’s remark was a disregard for their contributions.
Anas also raised concerns about the inconsistency in the job application process, pointing out the disparity between his situation and that of IM Vijayan, who was granted a job at the age of 37. Anas further questioned the government’s stance, emphasizing the glaring neglect faced by athletes who have dedicated their lives to representing the country on an international stage.
Contrary to Sharafali’s claim that he had applied for the job nearing his retirement, he stated that this assertion is inaccurate. He pointed out the inconsistency in the treatment of individuals who have pursued professional sports careers and subsequently returned to seek employment. Sharafali highlighted that there could be experienced players waiting for job opportunities. Echoing this sentiment, Rino Anto disclosed that he is currently in a state of anticipation for job prospects.